ASX confirms a bear market

The ASX 200 broke primary support level at 7000, confirming a bear market.

ASX 200

Long-term interest rates are rising, with bond ETFs falling.

Australia: Bond ETFs

A-REITs respected resistance at the former primary support level of 1500, confirming the primary down-trend. Trend Index peaks below zero warn of strong selling pressure.

ASX 200 REITs

Financials fell dramatically last week, testing primary support at 6000, as the prospect of falling residential property prices and rising defaults looms. Higher interest rates and wider net interest margins should offset this to some extent. Expect retracement to test resistance at 6000. Follow-through below this level would confirm a primary down-trend and strengthen the overall bear market (Financials have been one of the stronger sectors).

ASX 200 Financials

Consumer Discretionary respected resistance at 3000, signaling another decline with a target of 2600 [3000-400]. Trend Index peaks below zero warn of strong selling pressure.

ASX 200 Consumer Discretionary

Consumer Staples broke support at 13K, with respect of the new resistance level warning of another test of 12K.

ASX 200 Consumer Staples

 

Utilities continue their primary up-trend, rising Trend Index troughs indicating strong buying pressure.

ASX 200 Utilities

Industrials are headed for another test of support at 6350. Breach would warn of another test of primary support at 6000.

ASX 200 Industrials

Telecommunications broke support at 1400, signaling a primary down-trend. Trend Index peaks below zero warn of strong selling pressure. Breach of support offers a target of 1200 [1400-200].

ASX 200 Telecommunications

Health Care is consolidating below 42.5K. Reversal below 40K would warn of another test of primary support at 37.5K. A Trend Index peak close to zero would warn of fading buyer interest.

ASX 200 Health Care

Information Technology continues in a primary down-trend, with Trend Index peaks below zero warning of selling pressure. Follow-through below 1400 would offer a target of 1100 [1500-400].

ASX 200 IT

The Energy sector is advancing strongly, while Trend Index troughs above zero signal buying pressure. The prospect of Chinese lockdowns easing is likely to boost demand for oil and gas, sending prices soaring.

ASX 200 Energy

Metals & Mining respected resistance at 6250, warning of another test of 5500. Declining Trend Index peaks suggest buyer interest is fading. Respect of support at 5500 would signal that the up-trend is intact but breach seems more likely and would offer a target of the November ’21 low at 4750.

ASX 300 Metals & Mining

The broad DJ Industrial Metals Index respected resistance at 200, while Trend Index peaks below zero warn of strong selling pressure. Easing of lockdowns in China may increase demand but a bear market remains likely.

DJ Industrial Metals Index

Iron ore is also undergoing a correction. Breach of support at 125 would warn of another test of primary support at 90.

Iron Ore

The All Ordinaries Gold Index is again testing support at 6000, while Trend Index below zero warns of selling pressure.

All Ordinaries Gold Index

The price of Gold in Australian Dollars, however, is trending upwards, with rising Trend Index troughs indicating increased interest from buyers. Expect a test of A$2800 per ounce. Breakout would offer a target of A$3400 [2800 + 600].

Gold in Australian Dollars

Conclusion

ASX 200 broke support at 7200, confirming a bear market. Rising long-term interest rates and a poor global economic outlook are expected to weaken most sectors, while easing of China’s lockdown restrictions should provide some relief to energy and metals.

Our weighting for ASX sectors is:

  • A-REITs: heavily underweight
  • Financials: neutral
  • Staples: neutral
  • Discretionary: heavily underweight
  • Utilities: overweight
  • Industrials: neutral
  • Telecommunications: underweight
  • Health Care: neutral
  • Information Technology: heavily underweight
  • Energy: heavily overweight
  • Iron ore & Base Metals: underweight
  • Critical Materials (e.g. Lithium and Rare Earth Elements): heavily overweight
  • Gold: overweight

ASX signals a bear market

The ASX 200 broke support at 7200, signaling a primary down-trend. The declining Trend Index has warned of fading buying pressure for several months. Expect retracement to test the new 7200 resistance level but respect is likely and would confirm the primary down-trend.

ASX 200
The largest sector, Financials, similarly broke support at 6250 and we expect retracement to test the new resistance level.

ASX 200 Financials
The ASX 300 Metals & Mining Index encountered resistance at 6000 but remains in an up-trend. Another test of 4750 is likely.

ASX 300 Metals & Mining
The All Ordinaries Gold Index retreated this week, under the weight of a broad equities sell-off, but a rising Trend Index continues to flag buying pressure.

All Ordinaries Gold Index
Gold priced in Australian Dollars continues to trend upwards, the recent shallow trough having respected support at 2500. Target for the advance is 2800.

Gold in Australian Dollars
Conclusion

The ASX 200 breach of support at 7200 warns of a bear market; retracement that respects the new 7200 resistance level would confirm. Financials also warn of a bear market, while the Metals & Mining sector is likely to test support at 4750. The All Ordinaries Gold Index is retreating to test support at 6000 but this should present a buy opportunity as the Australian Dollar price of Gold continues in an up-trend.

Recent breakouts

Our recent breakout scan returned a number of promising stocks for review.

Australia

Orica (ORI) – rising Trend Index indicates buying pressure. Follow-through above 14.50 would complete a double bottom reversal.

Orica (ORI)

Canada

Precision Drilling (PD) – Trend Index trough above zero indicates strong buying pressure.

Precision Drilling (PD)

UK

Metro Bank (MTRO) – not a conventional breakout but rising Trend Index indicates buying pressure.

Metro Bank (MTRO)

USA

Marathon Petroleum (MPC) – Trend Index troughs above zero indicate strong buying pressure.

Marathon Petroleum (MPC)

More Breakouts

Spirit of Texas Bancshares (STXB) – shallow trough is a bullish sign. Trend Index holding above zero indicates strong buying pressure. Breakout above 25.00 would signal a fresh advance.

Spirit of Texas Bancshares (STXB)

CURO Group Holdings (CURO) – Trend Index trough above zero indicates strong buying pressure.

CURO Group Holdings (CURO)

Curtiss-Wright (CW) – Trend Index trough above zero indicates strong buying pressure.

Curtiss-Wright (CW)

Acuity Brands (AYI) – Trend Index troughs above zero indicate strong buying pressure. Follow-through above 200 is bullish.

Acuity Brands (AYI)

Apollo Gloabl Management (APO) – Trend Index trough above zero indicates strong buying pressure.

Apollo Global Management (APO)

Williams Companies (WMB) – Trend Index trough above zero indicates strong buying pressure.

Williams Companies (WMB)

Home Bancorp (HBCP) – shallow trough is a bullish sign. Trend Index trough above zero indicates strong buying pressure.

Home Bancorp (HBCP)

APA Corp (APA) – Breakout above 24.00.

APA Corp (APA)

Occidental Petroleum (OXY) – Breakout above 33.00.

Occidental Petroleum (OXY)

Shallow corrections and Trend Index troughs above zero indicate healthy buying pressure.

A word of caution: the above stocks are selected on the basis of technical analysis and do not consider fundamentals like sales, earnings, debt, etc.
Please do your own research. They are not a recommendation to buy or sell.

Recent Breakouts

Our latest scan for breakouts turned up only one candidate in the ASX 300:

Computershare (CPU)

Computershare (CPU) jumped after release of its annual report on Monday. CPU has grown via global acquisition to become the world’s leading provider of share registry services, which constitutes around 60% of group EBITDA. The remaining 40% largely comprises mortgage administration services in the United States and United Kingdom.

Russell 3000

The Russell 3000 yielded a few more promising candidates, concentrated in a few sectors:

Entertainment/Recreation/Gambling

Sea World (SEAS)

MGM International (MGM)

Caesars (CZR)

Vail Resorts (MTN)

Banking

Zions Bancorp (ZION)

First Foundation (FFWM)

Level One Bancorp (LEVL)

Semiconductors

Microchip (MCHP)

Brooks Automation (BRKS)

Others

Evolution Petroleum (EPM)

Progress Software (PRGS)

Arthur J Gallagher & Company (AJG)

Nexstar Media (NXST)

Look for a strong Trend Index (or Twiggs Money Flow), holding above zero, and shallow corrections.

Please note: no evaluation has been done of fundamentals like sales, earnings, debt, etc.

Quote for the Week

The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.

~ Leo Tolstoy

Recent breakouts

Our latest scan for breakouts turned up only one candidate on the ASX:

Premier Investments (PMV)

Premier Investments is an Australian company that operates six specialty retail fashion chains in the specialty retail fashion markets in Australia & New Zealand and also operates the unique Smiggle brand, retailing children’s stationery in Australia and overseas markets.

Not your normal candidate for a growth stock but PMV has been appreciating steadily, with shallow troughs and regular breakouts since March last year. Trend Index is declining; so we would want to see an upswing, respecting the zero line.

Russell 3000

The Russell 3000 yielded a few more promising candidates:

Inspire Medical systems (INSP)

Penske Group (PAG)

SVB Financial Group (SIVB)

Texas Instruments (TXN)

Walker Dunlop (WD)

Look for a strong Trend Index, holding above zero, and shallow corrections.

Quote for the Week

No amount of sophistication is going to allay the fact that all your knowledge is about the past and all your decisions are about the future.

~ Ian Wilson, former GE Chairman

Stock breakouts

This is just a view of stock market activity, based on technical analysis. It does not take into account fundamentals — like sales growth, margins, return on invested capital, debt and expected dividend streams — and is not a recommendation to buy/sell.

There were two notable breakouts this week in the Russell 3000:

Amazon (AMZN) was the clear winner, breaking resistance at 3500 after forming a solid base (between 3000 and 3500) over the past 10 months. Rising Money Flow troughs signal increased interest from buyers as Jeff Bezos handed over as CEO to Andy Jassy.

Amazon Inc (AMZN)

RGC Resources (RGCO) was runner up, breaking resistance at 25 at end of the June quarter. The base is not as well-defined as for Amazon, with penetration of support at 22.50 in April ’21 before a strong recovery. Respect of support at 25, however, would confirm the bull signal.

RGC Resources (RGCO)

The closest we have to a breakout this week on the ASX 300 is Rural Funds Group (RFF). After breaking resistance at 2.40 RFF formed a loose “cup and handle” pattern1, with a sharp pullback to test support at 2.30 followed by a rally to test resistance at 2.65/2.70. Divergence on Twiggs Money Flow, with a lower TMF peak, however warns of stubborn resistance and another test of support is likely.

Rural Funds Group (RFF)

Notes

  1. The “cup” on RFF runs from August ’19 to October ’20, the “handle” from November ’20 to the present.

RBA tapers

From Bill Evans at Westpac:

The Governor of the Reserve Bank has announced the intention to reduce the weekly purchases from $5 billion to $4 billion and not to extend its Yield Curve Target from the April 2024 bonds to the November 2024 bonds – two clear signs that policy is tightening…..

The decision to not extend the Yield Curve Target program to the November 2024 bonds….Giving up the option to extend the purchases at 0.1% to a 3 year 4 month bond from a 2 year 9 month bond, is effectively tightening policy.

Productivity not population key to Aussie living standards | Macrobusiness

From Leith van Onselen at Macrobusiness:

Former ALP minister Craig Emerson has penned an article in The AFR calling on the Morrison Government to tackle Australia’s declining productivity growth, which is central to boosting the nation’s living standards:

“Productivity growth has contributed 95 per cent of the improvement in Australians’ material living standards since 1901”.
“From the turn of the century, Australia’s productivity performance began to slide and the longer it has gone on the worse it has gotten”.
“Over the period from 2015 until the COVID-19 pandemic struck, actual productivity growth was worse than the low-productivity scenario included in the 2015 intergenerational report”.
“In the decade since 2010 – even excluding last year – Australia recorded its slowest growth in GDP per capita of any decade in at least 60 years”.
“Without a comprehensive economic reform program, Australia will inevitably have weak growth in living standards during the remainder of the 2020s and into the 2030s”.

Craig Emerson’s assessment is broadly correct, as evidenced by the stagnant real per capita GDP, wage and income growth experienced over the past decade (even before the coronavirus pandemic).

Sadly, however, the Morrison Government with the help of the Australian Treasury seems hell bent on leveraging the other ‘P’ – population growth – to mask over Australia’s poor productivity performance and to keep headline GDP growing, even if it means per capita GDP, income growth and living standards deteriorate.

Rather than using the coronavirus pandemic as an opportunity to reset the Australian economy to focus on quality over quantity, the Morrison Government is intent on repeating the policy mistakes of the past by returning to the lazy dumb growth policy of hyper immigration.

Rebooting mass immigration will inevitably contribute to Australia’s poor productivity growth by:

  • Crush-loading cities, increasing congestion costs and rising infrastructure costs;
  • Encouraging growth in low productivity people-servicing industries and debt creation, rather than higher productivity tradables; and
  • Discouraging companies from innovating and adopting labour saving technologies.

It’s time to put the Australian Treasury’s Three-Ps framework to rest once and for all, along with the snake oil solution of mass immigration.

Policy makers must instead focus first and foremost on boosting productivity, followed by lifting labour force participation. These are the two Ps that actually matter for living standards.

We agree with the concern over poor productivity growth, but focusing on labor force participation is putting the cart before the horse. The key cause of low productivity growth is declining business investment.

Business Investment

Without business investment, new job creation and wages growth will remain low. The way out of this trap is to prime the pump. Boost consumption through infrastructure programs — investment in productive infrastructure that will boost GDP growth (to repay the debt). Boost business investment through strong consumption, a lower Australian Dollar and tax incentives (like accelerated write-off) for new investment.

The lower exchange rate is important to rectify a serious case of Dutch disease1 from the resources industry. There are only three ways to achieve this:

  1. Increase imports, which would be self-defeating, destroying jobs;
  2. Reduce exports; or
  3. Export capital, of which Australia has little.

China is doing its best to help us with the second option, by restricting imports of a wide variety of Australian resources, but that has so far achieved little. David Llewellyn-Smith came up with an interesting alternative:

If we accept that the CCP is the latest manifestation of the historical tendency to give rise to political evils intent on dominating the lives of freedom-loving humanity, then why don’t we cut the flow of iron ore right now…….

The results would be instant. The Chinese economy would be structurally shocked to its knees. 30% of its GDP is real estate-related. 60% of the iron ore that drives it is sourced in Australia. Roughly speaking that is 18% of Chinese GDP that would virtually collapse overnight. Vast tracts of industry would fall silent. An instant debt crisis would sweep the Chinese financial system as its bizarre daisy chain of corruption froze. Local governments likewise. Unemployment would skyrocket.

…..What we can say with confidence is that it would pre-occupy the CCP for many years and hobble it permanently. Its plans for regional domination would be set back decades if not be entirely over.

The problem is how to convince the old boys around the boardroom table at BHP that this would be in their interest as well as in the country’s interest.

Notes

  1. Dutch disease is a term coined by The Economist to describe the impact on the Netherlands’ economy of a resources boom from discovery of large natural gas fields in 1959. The soaring exchange rate, from LNG exports, caused a sharp contraction in the manufacturing sector which struggled to compete, in export markets and against imports in the domestic market, at the higher exchange rate.

ASX: Financials suffer, A-REITs advance on lower rates

The ASX 200 advance is tentative, with a short doji candle signaling hesitancy, and we expect retracement to test support at 7000.  The Trend Index trough above zero indicates longer-term buying pressure. Respect of support is likely and would signal a fresh advance.

ASX 200

Financial Markets

Bond ETFs broke through resistance, signaling falling long-term interest rates.

Australian Bond ETFs

A-REITs advanced on the prospect of lower long-term interest rates.

ASX 200 Property

Bank net interest margins, however, are squeezed when interest rates fall.

Bank Net Interest Margins

ASX 200 Financials retreated to test support at 6500. The trend is unaffected and Trend Index troughs above zero indicate long-term buying pressure.

ASX 200 Financials

Mining

Mining continues to benefit from the infrastructure boom, with iron ore respecting support at $200/ton1. Troughs above zero, flag buying pressure, and respect of support both signal another advance.

Iron Ore

The ASX 300 Metals & Mining index is again testing resistance at 6000. Breakout would signal another advance, with a target of 65002.

ASX 300 Metals & Mining

Health Care & Technology

Health Care respected its new support level and is advancing strongly. Expect resistance between 45000 and 46000.

ASX 200 Health Care

Information Technology recovered above former resistance at 2000, warning of a bear trap. Expect resistance at 2250; breakout would signal a new advance.

ASX 200 Information Technology
Gold

The All Ordinaries Gold Index (XGD) is testing resistance at 7500. Breakout would signal a fresh advance, with a target of 9000.

All Ordinaries Gold Index

The Gold price is retracing to test the new support level at A$2400 per ounce. Respect of support is likely and breakout above A$2500 would be a strong bull signal for Aussie gold miners.

Gold in AUD

Conclusion

We expect A-REITs and Bond ETFs to advance on the back of lower long-term interest rates.

Financials are expected to undergo a correction as interest margins are squeezed.

Metals & Mining are in a strong up-trend because of record iron ore prices.

Health Care is recovering well and expected to test resistance.

Technology had a strong week but the outlook is still uncertain.

We expect the ASX 200 to retrace to test support at 7000 as its largest sector (Financials) undergoes a correction.

Notes

  1. Tons are metric tons unless otherwise stated.
  2. Target for Metals & Mining is calculated as support at 5000 extended above resistance at 5750.